Highlights from the May 15, 2023, Decatur City Council meeting include approval of a slew of items needed to start construction on the Brush College/Faries Parkway overpass project, and the renewal of the municipal electric aggregation program.
Brush College/Faries Parkway Overpass Update
On Monday night City Council approved several items related to the start of the Brush College/Faries Parkway overpass project. Bids for the anticipated $62.59 million construction project will be opened by the State of Illinois mid-June 2023. Construction will begin later this year and will last an estimated 2-3 years. Funding comes from a number of sources including federal and state grants. City funding is estimated to be about 8 percent of the total project cost. The construction will likely cause transportation issues for residents and businesses in that area. The City will be in communication throughout the project to ensure motorists are aware of road/lane closures.
Municipal Electric Aggregation Program
To help protect residents from rising utility costs, Council agreed to renew the municipal electric aggregation program. This allows City staff to negotiate a potentially cheaper electric supply rate for citizens. The City has run successful municipal aggregation programs in the past decade, leading to millions of dollars saved by our residents and small businesses. Every few years new pricing is secured by the City, which has historically amounted to 10-20 percent savings in electrical supply costs. Typically, there have been approximately 35,000 accounts included in the aggregated electric supply purchase made by the City. The City’s last electric aggregation pricing expired in December 2021. Staff was unable to secure favorable pricing at that time and residents were sent back to Ameren as their electric supplier. In between then and now, citizens have been encouraged to sign up for Arcadia Solar, which provides approximately 10 percent savings over Ameren. That program is still active and more info is at www.arcadia.com/decatur. The City is starting to see more favorable prices from alternative suppliers so we are renewing the electric aggregation program. Once the City secures a favorable electric supply price, we will share information about this alternative for our citizens and small businesses.
In Other Business
In other business…Council authorized an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Central Illinois Landbank Authority (CILBA) that will improve the abandonment to rehab program. CILBA recently finished their first whole-house rehab, which is a home located in the Johns Hill neighborhood. This IGA allows CILBA to use the City’s authority to acquire properties using abandonment proceedings. This should speed up the program significantly and lead to more rehabilitated homes. Also approved Monday night was technology upgrades for the 2nd floor of the Decatur Public Library building to support the workforce development and training space. This space has been undergoing renovations to become a workforce development hub. Renovations are nearly complete, and IT upgrades are the next step. More information about these topics can be found in the City Council Agenda packet, downloadable/viewable here: www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/